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Ashafa faults N4.5b allocation to Railway, to finish Lagos-Kano rail

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Senator Ashafa

The Chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa has stressed that the actualisation of the rehabilitation of the Lagos to Kano and rail line from single gauge to standard gauge is very imperative.

Senator Ashafa spoke while leading other members of the Senate and House Committee’s on Land Transport on an oversight visit to the Headquarters of Nigerian Railway Corporation in Lagos.

He said the task of moving from a dispensation of single track rail lines to the standard gauge for a start and then towards exploring the possibilities of electronic rail system depends on all of us here present.

The Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial district also tasked the Railway Corporation on providing more rolling stock available on the successfully rehabilitated and functional rail lines.

Ashafa said the Senators are totally committed to the actualisation of President Buhari’s change agenda.

He said the change must be felt in the area of Land Transport, with particular focus on our rail transport sector.

“We are equally fully aware that for this change to be actualised there would be a need to properly scrutinise and apportion the budgetary provision for the Ministry of Transportation towards maximising the accruable benefits that can be derived from the total sum of N215, 797, 393, 980 enveloped for the Ministry of Transport. Every Kobo spent must achieve its maximum value,” Senator Ashafa said.

Senator Ashafa wondered what the amount earmarked by the ministry for capital expenditure of the corporation can do with its N5.2bn debt profile.

“Whereas a total sum of N4.75 Billion was earmarked for the Nigerian Railway Corporation and the agencies under it, out of this sum, the sum of N4,253,528,989 is to take care of the corporation’s personnel. There is also an overhead cost of about N99,629,503, hence what is left for capital for the Corporation is about N399 Million.”

He noted that  the visit is an on the spot assessment of all the paperwork submitted and defended during the budget defense before the committee on the 3rd and 4th of February, 2016 as regards the level of work done/ the budgetary performance of the 2015 appropriation Act.

Senator Ashafa urges the Ministry to reorganise its priorities, so that adequate funds would be made available to the corporation to enable it conclude some of its outstanding projects that will translate to the dividends of sustaining a functional rail transport regime.

The other National Assembly members on the oversight visit include Senator Phillip Aduda- Vice Chairman, Senator Ali Wakili (Mni), Senator Olanrewaju Tejuoso, Hon. Aminu Isa (Chairman House Committee), Hon. Adekoya Adeosun, Hon. Abayomi Ayeola, Hon. Adaji Ezekiel, Hon. Yusuf Bala, Hon. Aliyu Danladi, Hon. Abdulraham Shuaibu and Hon. Isiaka Ibrahim.

Speech delivered by Senator Gbenga Ashafa, chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport at the oversight visit paid to the Nigerian Railway Corporation on 9th February 2016 by the committee

Protocols,

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me seize this opportunity to thank you all for your presence at this visit by the Senate and House Committee’s  on Land Transport to the headquarters of the Nigerian Railway Corporation.

This visit is in line with our constitutional responsibility to carry out periodic oversight functions to the Ministries Departments and Agencies under the supervision of our committee.

As you are well aware, the bulk of this committee’s work is particularly in the areas that concern both the rail and mass transit departments and agencies of the Ministry of Transportation.

Having had the benefit of listening to presentations and recommendations from the Honourable Minister of Transportation, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation and all other stakeholders at the budget defense before the committee on the 3rd and 4th of February, 2016 as regards the level of work done/ the budgetary performance of the 2015 appropriation Act, it is now imperative that we as members of the committee in both houses conduct our on the spot assessment of all the paperwork submitted and defended before us.

It is quite obvious that while we have inched closer to where we ought to be as a nation in the area of land transport, we are clearly not yet anywhere close to the mark.

Thankfully, we can all attest to the attitudinal change in governance, which has ensured that the budget for construction of railways in Nigeria has significantly increased from the meager N565, 170, 128 appropriated in 2015 to the sum of N90, 043, 073, 649 proposed by the presidency.

Whereas a total sum of N4.75 Billion was earmarked for the Nigerian Railway Corporation and the agencies under it, out of this sum, the sum of N4,253,528,989 is to take care of the corporation’s personnel. There is also an overhead cost of about N99,629,503, hence what is left for capital for the Corporation is about N399 Million.

Meanwhile, the debt profile of the Corporation is also about N5.2 Billion.

Therefore, I wonder what the amount earmarked by the ministry for capital expenditure of the corporation can do.

Consequently, there may be the need to reorganise the priorities of the Ministry so that adequate funds would be made available to the corporation to enable it conclude some of its outstanding projects that will translate to the dividends of sustaining a functional rail transport regime.

The task of moving from a dispensation of single track rail lines to the standard gauge for a start and then towards exploring the possibilities of electronic rail system depends on all of us here present.

In the light of the foregoing, the actualisation of the rehabilitation of the Lagos to Kano and rail line from single gauge to standard gauge is very imperative. So also is ensuring that we make more rolling stock available on the successfully rehabilitated and functional rail lines.

On our part as the Senators holding the mandate of our constituents, we are totally committed to the actualisation of President Buhari’s change agenda. A change which must be felt in the area of Land Transport, with particular focus on our rail transport sector.

We are equally fully aware that for this change to be actualised, there would be a need to properly scrutinise and apportion the budgetary provision for the Ministry of Transportation towards maximising the accruable benefits that can be derived from the total sum of N215, 797, 393, 980 (Two Hundred and Fifteen Billion, Seven Hundred and Ninety-seven Million, Three Hundred and Ninety- three Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty Naira) enveloped for the Ministry of Transport. Every Kobo spent must achieve its maximum value.

Further to the above, let me once again reiterate the point that with our committee in this 8th Senate, our oversight functions would not be business as usual. We are well disposed to ensuring regular oversight of all capital projects embarked upon by the Ministry of Transportation and its Departments and Agencies through the year.

Thank you and God bless.

Members of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees present at the oversight visit to the Nigerian Railway Corporation in the News report:

1.   Senator Gbenga Ashafa – Chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport

2.   Senator Phillip Aduda- Vice Chairman

3.   Senator Ali Wakili (Mni) – Member

4.   Senator Olanrewaju Tejuoso

5.   Hon. Aminu Isa – Chairman House Committee

6.   Hon. Adekoya Adeosun

7.   Hon. Abayomi Ayeola

8.   Hon. Adaji Ezekiel

9.   Hon. Yusuf Bala

10. Hon. Yusuf Bala

11. Hon. Aliyu Danladi

12. Hon. Abdulraham Shuaibu

13. Hon. Isiaka Ibrahim

 

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